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All Set for the Hosting of the 26th CARICOM Summit in Saint Lucia

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Contact: Virnet St.Omer-Fontenelle

Wednesday, June 15, 2005 – Preparations are well under way for St. Lucia to host the 26th CARICOM Heads of Government Summit in July. St. Lucia’s Ambassador to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Mr. Anthony Severin is overseeing the preparations for the hosting of
the Conference from July 3rd to 6th. The July meeting will be chaired by Prime Minister Dr Kenny D. Anthony.

St. Lucia will assume the Chairmanship of the regional grouping, when the summit opens at the Sandals Grande Resort & Spa at Pigeon Point on Sunday, July 3rd.

The summit, will bring together the Heads of Government of all Member-States and Associate Member-states of CARICOM to address key issues of regional concern, ranging from the continuing movement towards the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and regional approach to fight crime, to discuss the outcomes of recent meetings with international agencies and preparations for forthcoming summits.

The first day of the meeting will see leaders discussing, among other
items, recommendations from the Report of the Prime Ministerial Expert Group on Governance. They will also hear updates on the progress towards the CSME by the lead Prime Minister on such matters, Prime Minister Owen Arthur of Barbados.

The discussions on Crime and Security – and particularly issues and
recommendations from the recent meeting of Ministers of National Security in Trinidad & Tobago in May, will be led by Prime Minister Patrick Manning of Trinidad & Tobago.

The issues arising out of the meetings of the CARICOM Bureau of Ministers, the 35th meeting of the OAS General Assembly Foreign Ministers with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice in Florida will be discussed when heads meet in July.

The other agenda items for the summit include preparations for and priority issues relating to the forthcoming meetings such as the 4th Summit of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) to take place in Panama in July, the 4th Summit of the Americas to be held in Argentina in November, the CARICOM-Cuba Summit in December and the 60th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, at which matters such
as UN Reform and the Millennium Development Goals will be among top agenda items.

On the fringes of the summit, the Heads of Government will hold discussions with special guests, including President of the Dominican Republic Dr Leonel Fernandez, outgoing President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Enrique Iglesia and a representative of the Secretary General of the Commonwealth Don Mc Kinnon.

A new feature at this upcoming meeting will be issues arising from the first-ever meeting between the Heads of Government of CARICOM and the Leaders of the Parliamentary Opposition from the Members-States and Associated Member-States. The meeting is carded for July 2nd ahead of the meeting of Heads of Government. Ambassador Severin says the upcoming 26th CARICOM Summit: “is an event that concerns not only the Government of St. Lucia but the entire nation and we have set out to make all the necessary arrangements for a successful meeting and a fruitful stay on the island for the scores of regional and international guests expected for the summit and its fringe meetings.”

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